By Preeteesh Peetabh Singh
Moving to a new country to study can be an immensely riveting, life-defining experience. It’s the hope of a better future that lures students to make the shift. Propelling one’s knowledge base in a wider horizon through quality education is an important factor too. The scope of international education is an ongoing learning process that includes not only academic work but also an overall development of the individual.
It isn’t easy for students to make the decision, which involves drifting away from family, friends and potentially a decent life back home.
Being out of one’s comfort zone in a foreign country makes the student realize that life is tough indeed. But who weathers through the storm of struggle comes out a stronger person.
John Porter, director of international admissions and student services, said, “the students come to us with number of different challenges and issues: personal, cross-cultural, financial and academic. A new international student might be feeling lonely, isolated or homesick. He or she might be facing challenges in keeping up with the rigorous academic program.”
That initial period is taken care of at GBC quite magnificently. The international centre at GBC insures a smooth transition of the student into the new scheme of things.
Porter said, “The primary mandate and mission of the international centre at George Brown College is to support international students; help them succeed; ensure their safety and well-being; and resolve their issues and problems to the very best of our ability.”
For problems of a serious personal nature, such as depression, the international centre refers the student to its trained, professional counselors in the student affairs department. For financial challenges, international students are offered scholarships, emergency funds and bursaries. For academic matters, students are referred to their academic departments or provided with peer tutoring or other supports. In addition to activities offered by the international centre, the Student Association offers lots of social activities, events, and clubs for students to meet and get to know each other.
The international centre is available to the students as a resource for information and guidance on everything that is required. It provides a wide range of other services like, admissions, immigration, homestay accommodation service, health insurance, information regarding work-permits and co-op placements.
About 900 international students are expected to join GBC in September. These students show up from almost 100 different countries around the world. The majority of them come from China, India, South Korea, Latin America, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The upcoming international events in this fall include the City of Toronto’s airport welcome booth from Aug. 11–Sept. 10; Smart start for new international students orientation on Aug. 24; A new international student social event is tentatively planned for Sept. 8, with the official date to be announced; New international student orientation on Sept. 21; and the City of Toronto international student festival on Oct. 6.
It’s the time of the year which evokes freshness in the air. This fall, GBC has its door open for all the international students and is ready to warmly welcome them.